About the books – The Threat-Hamster series

The Threat-Hamster books are written to explore ideas. The first book is a send-up of SF clichés and infinitely tedious story lines. Visualisations are designed to be difficult. The “there must be a protagonist” idea is heavily mocked, including one plot line that can’t possibly work at all, and similar devices.

The other driver for writing the first book was a purely cynical but practical positioning exercise. The characters are immortals, roaming infinity and eternity. Good spot to tell stories, which is exactly what that position was designed to do.

These books are written on one of my guiding principles. Like any real situation, you’re thrown into the Threat-Hamster books without explanations to a very large extent. You have to find your way through the people, the issues, the environment, and things like the Scientocracy. Reality doesn’t go out of its way to explain itself. Anything can and does happen.

The next two books exploit this position with a level of satirical smugness I appreciate more every day. The War of the Decorators, for example, was a perfect position for exploring the horrors of décor. A six year old girl running a planet was an easy shot at the need for intelligence and sourcing people who are intelligent. This goes on in various forms on many subjects, like “nobody listens to marine biologists”, etc.

One of my favourite targets in the Threat-Hamster books is mindless dialogue, the sort which infests so much market-standard writing. This crap is used to patch storylines, add volume rather than substance, and generally detracts from the whole idea of writing anything decent. “How To Write A Book” as a methodology totally ignores the fact that so many books are so different, with different modes and styles of writing. To me, this type of dialogue is a sitting duck it’s impossible to miss.

Expression can take one word, two words, or a thousand. What’s being expressed is the issue for the reader, not some tiresome dogma about how to write it. I doubt very much if my readers could possibly give a damn about such irrelevant fluff.

The Threat-Hamster books were/are also very much a part of the evolution of my other writing. These books are documented forms of my total rejection of conventional writing, which is so stale and decayed that it’s more like archaeology than actual writing. Herodotus and Thucydides wrote much better, and far more effectively than “LEGO for words” ever will. I’m a writer, not a museum curator.

There is of course a side-note to this. One of the things I detest about commercial writing, in which I’ve done millions of words, is that it’s almost the exact opposite. I don’t write jingles. I can, I have, and I can do it better than most, but “aphorisms to sell things with” is hardly enough meat on the plate.

The joke is that if I could write commercial copy and content the way I write books, particularly these books, the commercial stuff would be much better. Ah well.

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